My Little Brother

This isn’t a rescue story, but it’s every bit as important to my heart.

This weekend, my little baby brother, Matt Owen, got married. Now, Matt would stop me right there and say, “Ashley, I’m hardly ‘little,’ and I’m not a ‘baby.’” But lucky for me, he’s not telling this story, so he can hush it and let me finish… :)

Matt is 2 ½ years younger than me, and when we were kids, I was forced to do everything with him…
“Ashley, share your toys.”
“Ashley, let your brother play with you and your friends.”
“Ashley, let your brother ride the go-cart WITHOUT running over him this time…”

The go-cart was taken away on Christmas day—30 minutes after I got it—because I couldn’t follow the third rule.

Growing up, Matt was often my best friend and my worst enemy. You know how siblings can be…
And I allowed myself to say whatever I wanted about my brother… but no one else could. He’s MY brother. I can call him a stupid butt-face if I want, but don’t you dare agree with me.

Matt and I have always had a healthy (and sometimes not-so-much on the healthy) sibling rivalry going. Especially on Matt’s end. He’d re-take a standardized test as many times as it took for him to beat my first score. Then, he’d run around the house screaming, “I beat Ashley! I beat Ashley! IN YOUR FACE!!!” I’d laugh and say, “Well sure, if I’d taken it a HUNDRED times, who knows what I would’ve made…”

We compete out of love, but deep down, we always support each other. Growing up, we’d mostly come together to fight our parents on ridiculous rules like curfew.
My Dad: “Well maybe you kids can tell me… since you know so much more than I do… exactly what legal activities are taking place for teenagers after midnight??”
He had a point… but it didn’t piss us off any less.

As we’ve gotten older, our relationship has become much more important, as we’ve supported each other through heartbreaks, the college years, and following our dreams. You see, Matt and I were born the same passion: saving lives. For me, that’s animals. For Matt, it’s people.

I’m going to brag on Matt for a minute. My little brother is absolutely brilliant. He’s entering his third year of medical school at UAB, one of the top programs in the country. It is extremely difficult to get into the program at UAB, but they wanted my brother before he even applied. After his med school interview, the head of the program called him personally to say, “Not only have you been accepted, but you were considered to be one of the most desirable applicants we’ve ever had.” That’s my baby brother. He’s so smart it’ll make you sick.

My amazing little brother feels that he has always lived in my shadow…but I would argue that my shadow could never overtake his incredible light. I’d say that his light outshines mine by a mile. He’d probably tell you the same about me. That's the beauty of our relationship.

So this weekend, my little brother married his best friend, Molly Tilghman… now Molly Owen. And as Molly walked down the aisle, it was like I watched my brother grow up, right before my eyes...

I saw him as a baby, with those big brown eyes that always seemed to be fascinated by the world.


I saw him as a little boy, sharing all of his best secrets with me.

I saw me sharing a few secrets of my own with him, which he would soon tell my parents... getting me grounded...


I saw him as a kid, pestering me as much as humanly possible.


I saw him holding my hand through all of life's tough times.

I saw me reaching for his hand sometimes too...

I saw him as a child with a lifelong dream of becoming a doctor...


I saw him as a teenager, asking me for girl advice.

I saw him as a minor, asking me to buy his beer.

I saw him graduating high school... heading off to join me at the University of Alabama.


I saw him as a college kid, devastated over his first real heartbreak.

I saw me by his side, crying with him...


I saw him the day he graduated college… heading off to medical school to follow his lifelong dream.

I saw him as an unsure young man, asking his big sister for help proposing to his girlfriend.

I saw the smile on his face when she said yes...

And I watched him as a man… saying “I do” to his new wife, on their wedding day.

Sometimes it hits you all at once that life goes by in the blink of an eye. Seeing my little brother get married was a surreal reminder of how quickly time passes… My baby brother isn’t a baby anymore. He’s all grown up.

Matt, I don’t tell you enough, but I’m so proud of you, and I’m honored to be your sister. I don’t remember my life before you, and I hope I never know it without you. You're the best pain in the ass brother there ever was. I love you.

Congratulations Matt and Molly. I’m so happy for y’all, and I love you both more than you’ll ever know. Molly, welcome to our crazy family. I can't believe you signed up for this on purpose... :) Matt, you did good.


  1. Tears*Very Beautifully written! You are Blessed to have each other:)

  2. Wonderful story! Thank you for sharing. Congratulations to your brother and his new wife. :)

  3. I love the pictures from when you were kids...especially the one with the doggie! So sweet. It's obvious you have a very special bond with your brother.

  4. So very sweet, Ashley...loved every word of it!

  5. I don't know your family, but that was really nice! I liked all the pictures through time ... such a wonderful tribute to your family! :)


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